Discovery Channel Draws TV Audiences OnlineBy Reb Carlson May 3rd, 2012
The Discovery Channel is responsible for some of television’s most beloved shows, among them Deadliest Catch, Shark Week, and MythBusters.
While Discovery’s main goal is to keep people subscribing, channel executives know they can increase those numbers with an active online presence full of compelling supplementary content.
Overall, Discovery runs a pretty tight ship when it comes to content. The company’s strategy does, however, contain one possible misstep.
Half the show is off TV
The Discovery Channel website allows fans to find more about their favorite Discovery Channel shows along with exclusive web content. For instance, MythBusters has an online after show for each episode, with a recap, question and answer segment, and behind-the-scenes info.
The online show also allows fans to learn more about the stars, such as MythBusters’ current after show, in which they discussed their craziest dates. Who knows how dating relates to a double-car stunt, unless the typical Discovery Channel fan has a crazy dating life and is used to it?
Read before, during, or after you watch
Along with episode recaps and web-only after shows, the Discovery Channel website features editorial content that seeks to entice the adventure-loving types who visit the site. Both informational and entertaining, the content is categorized by Adventure, Cars & Bikes, Gears and Gadgets, Life, and News.
The “Adventure” category, for instance, now features a collection of “Spring Gear Guides” for runners, cyclists, hikers who love tools and gadgets, and photographers looking for the ultimate camera backpack. While first time visitors are most likely searching for show info, games, or The Discovery Channel Shop, the editorial content is designed to make them stay a little longer.
Focus on the present
Discovery has invested in an enhanced YouTube channel, which now has a header dedicated to the most popular show on air, Deadliest Catch. The site features tabs such as “Be an Expert,” which links back to a recap page on the Discovery site. The Discovery Channel offers a lot of programming at once, along with exclusive online video and editorial content.
The Discovery Channel Facebook page shares content from the website, but has a significant drawback. Whenever they post videos directly from the Discovery Channel site, they don’t fill up the space within the post. See below:
For some reason, Discovery uses its own video player within their site, instead of sharing it through YouTube, which is the preferred video player for cross promotion through Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and Pinterest. With YouTube’s redesign that allows for more social engagement, integrating YouTube players within the site would give a more accurate depiction of who is watching their content and increase engagement.
Overall, Discovery does a great job providing supplementary content for its shows. Most networks are hesitant to give away their content online for free. For instance, Bravo keeps a very limited amount of full length episodes online and ABC only makes their shows available through their own player.
It seems that the Discovery Channel was following a similar route by using their own player that wasn’t compatible with Facebook. Despite that one misstep, it offers a robust content strategy that focuses on the company’s latest offerings and allows for the discovery of informative content.